The new bike path in front of the paddle courts (photo motovelodromo.it).
Sports spaces for the public, and where to get them. This could be (paraphrasing the title of a recent fantasy film saga) the concept that is driving the redevelopment of the Turin Motovelodrome. An intervention long awaited by the neighborhood, and by the city, and finally is taking shape with the current phase of construction, with the aim of returning to the area a renovated sports center and accessible to all and, at the same time, manage to preserve and enhance a historic sports architecture that was in danger of disappearing.
Yes, because the Turin Speedway is in place the oldest sports facility of Piedmont among those currently in use (surpasses the Natale Palli stadium in Casale in one year, 1921). And losing it for myopia and administrative and planning delays would have been a great missed opportunity.
Opened in May 1920, and currently named after cycling champion Fausto Coppi, the Motovelodromo was Turin Sports Center at many different times and for many disciplines. And if a century ago it was born mainly to satisfy the great passion of track cycling (and secondly, of motoring), just over 100 years later the sport that we could define “of great fashion has come to its rescue “Contemporary 1920s”: Paddle.
In fact, thanks to the intervention of the company Padel M2 that took charge of the structure of the City Council, dedicating itself to the recovery project, the ring of the track that today has seen several editions of the Milan pass -Torí embraces a green space converted into transparent architectures and regular paddle game (8 fields), plus 4 beach volleyball courts. And all this thanks to a restoration project (currently underway, as they say), signed by the studio Baietto Battiato Bianco, which aims to enhance the original structures of the same stadium, renewing its functionality for the contemporary era: the great parabolic curve, the lower rooms, the arched entrances and the two small side steps, the fate of which had already been lost under the weight of time.
The Motovelodrome, on the other hand, was designed by the architect Vittorio Eugenio Ballatore di Rosana, one of the main exponents of the Freedom of Turin (some details of which can also be found here), and is a testament to the sports architecture of the early twentieth century that otherwise -at least in Piedmont- has been lost almost completely: in Turin, moreover, later of the demise of the old Philadelphia Stadium (1926-1998) and the distant memories of the Stadium (1911-1946), is really the only legacy of the first thirty years of the century, still existing.
The triumphal arch of three arches, which offers a stately and isolated access from the main structure; the small but elegant geometries of the railings; the double moldings of the parapets and the stairs. In a space between the hills of Turin and a bend of the river Po, in a quadrant where the houses of the neighborhood almost face the floor, the Motovelodrome was not only a historic architecture to save but above all an opportunity to achieve it. renovate a stately sports space from the city. And on the pitch where Torino Calcio, the Italian national team and even the English band Roxy Music also played, the intervention that is taking shape is able to give a new future to this place, once again in close connection. with the inhabitants of the neighborhood and with sport.